We need a standard scouting app

Ive been looking around for scouting apps to use but many of them are either built specifically for a team, hard to use, or are not updated for the next years competition. Sometimes it feels like the only way to have a scouting app is to built one yourself which can be frustrating if you don’t have anyone that knows how to go about building an app. Ive been waiting for someone to build a scouting app that fits all of these standards but so far none have quite hit the mark. Ive always envisioned something similar to slack were you register your team and invite people to your “channel”. From here you can have admins and scoutings and store all your data on the cloud. One thing is many teams have different data that they want to collect so the app would have to have custom and editable fields that the teams could make for their scouting form. Does this sound like something that could be easy to use and accessible to everyone so all teams can easily collect data and make informed decisions on strategy and alliance selections?

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You should check out “Robot Scouter”, Here

Some docs on using it with Tableau, Here and Here

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Roblu exists

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FAST cloud scouting on IOS, look it up on the IOS app store.

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Upon seeing this thread, I just made a wiki where we can all add scouting apps made by other teams in one place: Wiki: All the Scouting Apps

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I should have an update being pushed in the next few days by the way, it’s been a really long and busy past few weeks.

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I do not mean to hijack this thread, but how do teams deal with accessing TBA at events? Events we attend have extremely unreliable wifi and cell coverage. Many of the scouting apps we have seen seem to utilize TBA, but sometimes we cannot even get thier app to load during our events. I

am not complaining, I understand the limitations, I just think we are at a place where our team would consider using an app, but feel this is a hurdle.

@thereidfleish thanks for starting the wiki and for posting an app that could work offline for the most part (getting match schedules seems doable and helpful in and of itself).

P.S. our team is currently working on a completely offline scouting app which will transfer data using AirDrop on iOS or Bluetooth on Android (see UI mockup here)…however it won’t be completely done until around the first week of March or so

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Teams rolling their own scouting setups has always seemed like the best solution. As you mentioned, your team is looking for a specific flow for your scouting setup. Handling every team’s specific flow simultaneously would be nearly impossible.

There’s also no incentive for someone to build/publish/maintain a scouting system year-over-year. Building something for internal use is easy (it can have sharp corners/oddities), building something you offer externally drastically increases complexity. Likely some universal scouting system would end up being someone’s unpaid second job.

I’d favor building something simple that works within your team’s existing channels, as opposed to rolling a custom solution. Apps are hard because they need continuous upkeep (updating for different OS versions), along with some deployment strategy, maintaining devices, hosting, etc. and it’s fairly skilled work. If your team is full-on-Slack, leverage Slack and Google Sheets.

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Would people pay for a scouting app and would this increase the incentive of someone building one and keeping it maintained?

In my experience building/running/attempting-to-fund software projects in FRC for ~10 years, no.

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Do you know why teams were unwilling to pay for the app?

Teams that don’t have the resources to develop their own scouting app generally don’t have too much money to spend on a scouting app. Such teams will either forgo scouting or go with an easier to implement and often more effective paper based system. Teams that are able to make room in the budget for a scouting app will also have the resources to make their own. The subscription for such an app would also be a small part of the cost of effectively implementing it (tablets and related infrastructure).

$5-$10 a month does not seem like a lot and most people have phones for which they could run the app from.

$5-$10 a month, times the number of teams who might use it… Let’s say that 1/3 of FRC uses it. About 1K teams. (1/3 builds their own apps, 1/3 doesn’t care and doesn’t scout for whatever reason.) And let’s say it’s a per-team license, not a per-device (or the per-device is cheaper).

$5K-$10K/month income is enough to pay for one programmer, probably. (There’s variables in there like if you pay-as-you-go or have an annual license–if the former, half the year the programmer isn’t getting paid, and that’s going to be enough to sink the issue.)

But that one programmer has to set it up so that those 1K teams are ALL happy. That means 24/7 tech support, taking the time at the beginning to figure out what teams want (particularly their subscribers), putting it together in about 6 weeks for testing, making it customizable…

I can’t think of a single programmer, paid or not, that would want to do that. And as soon as you add a second person, you’re talking entry-level or pre-entry-level programmer.

I get that you guys want to pay for an app. The folks that would program one probably are thinking it just isn’t worth it from THEIR end. It doesn’t matter why the teams aren’t willing to pay, it matters THAT they aren’t willing to pay, and if teams aren’t willing to pay, then app developers won’t develop apps!

Good luck… I’m working on something that will hopefully be absolutely better than any other scouting app (that’s what I keep telling myself), but not everyone is going to like it. People are having trouble switching from paper, let alone a single app

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Agree until an app is better than paper …there will never be agreement…We tried an app and then most basically switched back to paper on day 2.

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We wrote a custom app for this year showed it off last weekend. We have 6 students on the team and our programming team not only programmer the robot but wrote the app.

It tracked shot locations, accuracy, climb completion time, defense time played, and of course auto start position and accuracy in auto. We shared with a partner team so between the two of us using it before each match, Elmo St every team saw the visualized output and were simply amazed.

We won the Creativity Award for the scouting app and had many teams ask if we would share the code with them. The idea from the start was to share the app and data with all Indiana teams going to champs. Of course now that is out.

The long term plan was, may still be, to update the app for each game and make it available to interested teams for a small fee ($10-20) per event they wish to use it at. We will see where this goes.

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I created a scouting app for my team with:

  • Native mobile app
  • Support for pit scouting
  • Support for match scouting
  • Web app for display in the pit
  • Image uploading
  • Individual team views for match schedules, submitted scouting reports, averages based on reports and match data, etc
  • Live data updates (match scores/schedules, new scouting reports, etc)

It’s a fairly powerful tool in my opinion, but it could be made even more powerful with some extra time and effort. I’m interested in potentially opening it up to more teams in the future, so if anyone’s interested in seeing a “demo” version then feel free to DM me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I have some time to spare! Since my team probably won’t get to use it this year, I might as well try to get some outside feedback :slightly_smiling_face:

Perhaps one day there will be a standard app. Until then, I think teams should simply use whatever system they like the best, whether it be their own system or someone else’s.